After fixing things up from a mishap with my CO2 lines, I am back at bottling again. Since I’ve been brewing, I’ve had a kegerator and never really bottled much. But then after several batches I felt like sharing my creations. I would love to brew even more often, I just can drink it all!
I bottled a few times using a Blichmann Beer Gun (this works awesome and is super easy) and a box of new bottles. Since I asked for the bottles back, they started stacking up and needed some cleaning. I was cleaning them individually by hand and just drying the upright on my counter. This took up a lot of space (just ask my wife) and I didn’t like the idea of hard water settling inside.
Since I follow http://www.homebrewfinds.com on twitter, and basically stalk their posts everyday, I came across the FastRack. This system/tool/device, whatever pleases you, is the perfect design for bottling day and bottle storage. Here, let me show you…
I was bottling my Amarillo Shoal Pale Ale and my Seven Seas Pale Ale. After I cleaned my bottles I placed them upside down in a FastRack that is sitting in the catch tray (sold separately). This allows the liquid to keep draining out without a mess and keeps the bottles all organized. Then I tossed my bottles in sanitizer (Star San) for a couple minutes.
Straight out of the sanitizer and back onto the FastRack, these bottles are now clean, sanitized and ready for bottling. The FastRack keeps your bottle tops from touching anything to help avoid contamination.
It can old different size bottles as well, I was just using the basic 12oz size.
Don’t Fear The Foam! Starsan Sanitizer allows you to sanitize you bottles and equipment but simply soaking for 1-minute. Actually just having contact with it for that long is supposed to be good enough. I usually sit my bottles in it while I prep the for the other steps.
While I am setting up my beer gun and other bottling necessities, I don’t have to worry about my bottles, they are neatly tucked away on the FastRack.
Of course as odd as it may be not drinking my own brew, I was enjoying a nice Mirror Pond Pale Ale by Deschutes Brewery during the process.
While bottling, depending on your work space setup, the FastRack helps keep your bottles easily accessible. For me, I use a TV tray – the FastRack helps me not worry about a bottle falling off. Now, it doesn’t prevent any clumsy action of mine from knocking the whole thing off, but luckily I didn’t get too wild while bottling.
Here is a glimpse of my operation – don’t knock it! You see two of my FastRack setups, my beer gun rig (I’ll show more details in my beer gun post later), and my capper. Two of my FastRack setups you ask? Of course one is great, but having two is even better.
For those who bottle, you know that during the process there is a little beer overflow that gets all over the bottle and everywhere else – sorry, no one is perfect.
I originally filled, capped, and rinsed each one in the sink, then set it on the counter. With the second FastRack now, I was able to fill, cap and just put it in the rack and quickly move onto the next bottle. The bottles with a cap fit perfectly and allow me to have less interruption between fills. Besides it keeps the beer mess a little more isolated – it’s just drips down into the tray. I still rinse them off after they’re all capped, but it saves time and hassle during the process.
After a quick rinse, they are ready to share!
I truly do like this product and would recommend it to anyone, even if you don’t bottle a lot. It’s a time saver, bottle saver, and space saver…and keep in mind…”A happy nest is the best nest – FastRack: the peace making marriage saver!”